I’m not the girl who cares about the halftime show come Superbowl time, I never have been. In fact, I usually resent it. It takes too long, messes with the rhythm and it creates unnecessary complications, game-wise. But the NFL is a business first, and I understand that, so most years, I put up with it.
Sometimes I listen, sometimes I mute it, sometimes I go get a snack when the game isn’t on, like regular football fans do, but I don’t ever complain about what the NFL chooses to do with that time. It’s part of the business side, and sports are, first and foremost, a business.
That time is over. I’m complaining now.
Look, Roger Godell, it’s bad enough that you smile your privileged white-guy smile and pretend you don’t agree with Trump’s whole national anthem nonsense while subtly asking players to “respect” the flag and keeping a tally of how many actually kneel, or supporting douchebags like Jerry Jones, who made it very clear that he’d consider benching anyone who kneeled, but you gotta prove, once again, that the NFL doesn’t just hate minorities, it hates women too?
To be fair, we already knew that. The only thing the NFL – and organized sports, in general – hates more than black men protesting racial injustice is women having anything to do with their beloved sports, whether that is having an opinion (even if it’s her job to do so), asking a question (especially if it’s her job to do so), daring to complain when one of its athletes abuses her or showing her breast on national television
Because yes, this is about Janet Jackson, probably the lesser of all the evils the NFL has committed against women, but the final drop in the already-overflowing glass of water of my patience.
Am I a Janet Jackson fan? Not particularly. In fact, the only vivid image I have of Super Bowl XXXVIII is rooting really hard for the Patriots to lose. I don’t even remember watching the whole thing live, because hating the Patriots is a time-consuming thing, one that, at times, requires alcohol. I do remember the news coverage afterwards, how they painted Janet as anything but a performer whose plan went wrong and Justin as just an innocent bystander.
I’m not sure if I realized then how it all reeked of misogyny, but I sure as hell do now.
It’s been fourteen years, you say. The world has changed, and our perceptions of many things, including entertainers, have shifted. And I would agree with all of that, except that even then, Justin didn’t get the same kind of criticism or scrutiny that she did, even if he, arguably, was more at blame for the ‘wardrobe malfunction.’
But then of course, he was very quick to throw her to the wolves back then, to place all the blame on her and only her.
We talk about allies nowadays. Back then Justin was anything but an ally to Janet.
This, of course, leads us to now, to Justin Timberlake, a white man, and not Janet Jackson, a black woman, being invited to headline the Halftime Show fourteen years after an even that TV announcers then treated as a catastrophe, an event she was forced to apologize for
You know what this smells like? It smells of the NFL not giving a damn about anyone that doesn’t look like, you guessed it, Roger freaking Goodell.
I watch football every Sunday. I spend money on NFL TV packages and merchandise, I tweet using the hashtags and contribute to the status the league has. And, on a day like today, I wonder …should I?
Should I care for a league that doesn’t care for me, my opinion, or, apparently, my money?
Should I care for a league that, for years, was more worried about players hitting each other as part of the game than players hitting women?
Should I care for a league that only cares for its white owners and its white players?
Should I care for a league that bends to Trump’s will?
And more importantly, should you?
I don’t want to say the answer is obvious, but it kind of is.